Does your work draw on any of the work Devon has been doing over at


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> -----Original Message-----
> From: Code for Libraries [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf
> Laurence Finston
> Sent: 23 March 2007 20:38
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: [CODE4LIB] GNU Metadata Exchange Utilities
> Eric Lease Morgan wrote:
> > On Mar 21, 2007, at 5:07 AM, Laurence Finston wrote:
> >
> > Cool, and interesting. I think I speak for the community when I
> > sincerely say, "Good luck".
> >
> Thank you.
> > The goals you desire to achieve with the software are the same sorts
> > of goals many of us have. I'm sure some of us will install and
> > experiment with the Exchange Utilities when they are easily
> > installable on the platforms we support. Alas, many of us simply do
> > not have access to Microsoft products.
> This list is clearly not the place to discuss my personal situation,
> but I will say that I need to find work in order to continue working
> on this package.  If I'm not employed _to_ work on it, I would work on
> it in my free time.  I think this kind of project could receive
> funding from some institution, but I'm not in a position to apply for
> it.  One problem with Free Software is finding someone to finance it.
> Using Microsoft products wasn't my choice.  Visual Studio promotes a
> style of programming that starts with the GUI and then adds
> functionality to the buttons, edit boxes, etc.  This is the opposite
> of what I think is the "right" way to go about it.  That's why I'm
> building the new package around an interpreter that I've written using
> GNU Bison.  (Just in case anyone isn't familiar with this topic, Bison
> is
> the GNU version of the UNIX utility `yacc'.  Bison and yacc are
> "compiler
> generators".)
> The sub-package `scantest' can be installed on GNU/Linux systems.
> It should work on other UNIX-like systems, but I haven't tested
> this.  At present, it's a "toy" program, since it doesn't perform
> a useful function, but it might be fun to try.  I find it quite
> enjoyable watching the output from Bison parsers, but perhaps I'm
> easily amused.
> I don't think a GUI is necessary for this package, but
> one could be written.  However, I would use a free library and
> certainly not Visual Studio.  I'm not personally a big fan of GUIs,
> although they can be useful.  An interpreter would also be useful in
> combination with a GUI.  However, for this purpose, I think an
> interpreter for a machine-like language, and a scanner that reads
> binary files, would be more useful.  I've planned to write an
> interpreter like this for my other package, GNU 3DLDF, but have never
> had the time.
> There are a lot of free tools, libraries, etc., for some of the tasks
> involved, notably `libxml' for handling XML data and YAZ for
> accessing Z39.50 servers.  Much of the work will "just" be a matter
> of combining them.  I believe that a good approach would be to
> program "filters" for the individual tasks I want to solve,
> i.e., programs that read from their standard input and write
> to their standard output.  Such "filters" can be chained using
> pipes.  As I'm sure many of you know, this is a typical style of
> programming in UNIX-like programming environments.
> Of course, the filter programs could also have "side effects",
> such as writing files.  A great deal of my previous work has
> involved Donald Knuth's TeX and related packages.
> It's very easy to write programs that output TeX input files,
> and it's possible to produce very high quality printable output
> using TeX, usually in the form of PostScript or PDF files.
> I will probably use TeX to represent the contents of the databases,
> along with HTML.
> At present, I'm very occupied with job applications.  I also have to
> perform some tasks resulting from the package having been accepted by
> the GNU Project.  For example, I must add the required options, change
> copyright notices, work on preparing a release, etc.
> When I've done something that might be of interest to readers
> of this list, I will post an announcement.  Under the circumstances,
> it may be awhile before I'm able to devote the necessary time to
> programming.
> Laurence Finston

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